The future is public - Towards democratic ownership of public services

The future is public - Towards democratic ownership of public services

Download PDF

PSI is pleased to partner with the launch of TNI's new book "The future is public". It tracks more than 1,400 successful cases of bringing public services back from private ownership and/or management.

Resistance to privatisation has turned into a powerful force for change: (re)municipalisation. The term (re) municipalisation refers to the reclaiming of public ownership of services as well as the creation of new public services. In recent years, the Transnational Institute and partner organisations have identified more than 1,400 successful (re)municipalisation cases involving more than 2,400 cities in 58 countries around the world.

But this publication is about more than just numbers. It shows that public services are more important than ever in the face of the climate catastrophe, mounting inequalities and growing political unrest. The COVID-19 crisis too has made painfully clear the disastrous effects of austerity, social security cuts and privatised health care systems, but it has also demonstrated that public services and the people who operate them are truly the foundation of healthy and resilient societies. Though years of privatisation and austerity have choked off democratic control and sufficient funding to this foundation. As privatisation fails, a growing international movement is choosing (re)municipalisation as a key tool for redefining public ownership for the 21st century.

The stories in this book take us to new countries and introduce us to new sectors to illustrate the diversity of (re)municipalisation efforts. Each (re) municipalisation has its own specific challenges: from waste management in Egypt to the new public pharmacies in Chile, and to the many remote US municipalities that have delivered jobs and improved quality of life by developing broadband internet.

Together, civil society organisations, trade unions and local authorities are shaping a new template for how to expand democratic public ownership to all levels of society and opening up new routes to community-led and climate conscious public services.

This book is the result of the collaboration of civil society organisations, trade unions, academics, local authorities and public enterprise officials from across the globe.